[ Makeni, Sierra Leone ]
Having lingered much longer than anticipated, today I’m back on the road and out of touch for who knows how long.
Interestingly enough, I remember vividly where I was one year ago today. Old Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India. It was a rainy day. I kept moving between my guest house and a favorite local cafe, preparing madly for this journey. At the time my life was little more than a blur of panic and self-doubt, my daily routine filled with desperate appeals for financial assistance (via Patreon), emails sent blindly to potential gear sponsors, and regular chats with my support network: faraway friends in New Zealand and Germany, sometimes Texas.
To mitigate the panic I had spent ten days riding a rented Royal Enfield through the north Indian Himalaya: Ladakh and Kashmir, Leh, Kargil…even coming within a stone’s throw of Pakistan’s border. I needed inspiration and calm, and these mountains were rife with it. (The featured pic above is from that journey. In Lamayuru.)
But I had returned to Old Manali, and the panic had returned: What the hell am I doing? Who am I trying to fool? There’s no way I can do this! All the usual hobgoblins made their appearance, and today—precisely one year ago—they had an ally. Like I said: a day I remember vividly.
Skip ahead to this day, the same day, one year later. The rains still fall—not the South Asian monsoon, but the West African rainy season. The downpours follow me once again, now through the forests of Sierra Leone. (Sierra Leone!) I am here. It is happening. I am ‘doing it.’ The guest house may be different, the pleas addressed to different people, but the routine is familiar. As is the panic which still makes an occasional appearance, only now it is mitigated by the real-time joys of a journey underway.
All that’s missing, really, is a nice single malt. And a harmonium. And a wooden barrel, with Buddhists doing VR backflips in the Black Forest. And conversations and such.
And so on.
And on and on it goes, friends: we remember and move along, sometimes with a knowing nod, and sometimes a knowing nod to another.
Much love from Salone. To you, and you all.
An Undeserved Gift 4U: a Soundtrack of Sorts.